Calgary man charged with defrauding auto suppliers $60K

A Calgary man has been charged in a fraud scheme targeting local automotive suppliers, racking up $60,000 in unpaid invoices.

Between January and August, Calgary police believe the suspect contacted seven auto supply businesses and placed orders for tires, welding equipment, tire-changing and wheel-balancing machines while posing as an employee of a client business. The suspect tallied approximately $60,000 in invoices, police said, and fraudulently rented vehicles that were used to pick up the merchandise.

After the client businesses received the invoices, they contacted the auto supply business who, in turn, contacted police.

Read more: Calgary police seek help locating suspected car thief

Following a months-long investigation, police arrested a man on Nov. 25.

Michael Tolentino Dela Cruz, 50, was charged with multiple counts of fraud over $5,000 and one of fraud under $5,000. Dela Cruz was also charged with identity theft after police found him with personal identification information of 15 different people.

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Police said he also had 10 outstanding warrants for unrelated crimes.

Dela Cruz is due to appear in court on Friday.

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The Calgary Police Service reminds businesses to ask phone customers to verify company contact information and follow up on requests directly with the client businesses for confirmation.

“If the client cannot answer basic verification questions, it could be a sign of a scam,” police said in a statement.

Anyone with information about these incidents are asked to call the CPS non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or provide anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers.

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